Poll: Street lights consultation in Tendring not a blanket yes/no decision

Last night Tim Young, leader of the Colchester Labour group, said: We expect Councillor Bass to res

Last night Tim Young, leader of the Colchester Labour group, said: We expect Councillor Bass to respect the wishes of Colchester Borough Council and the residents and turn the lights back on.

A consultation on whether to turn street lights back on overnight in Tendring does not have to end in a district-wide yes/no decision.

Tendring District Council (TDC) is currently asking residents, parish and town councils and emergency services whether they want the authority to pay to keep the lights on between midnight and 5am.

Street lights have been switched off between those times for the past year, except in town centres and at dangerous road junctions, under an Essex County Council policy which aims to reduce carbon emissions.

However the move has sparked controversy with some politicians, residents and organisations such as the AA.

Councillors voted unanimously as part of the overall Conservative budget proposals during a full TDC meeting last week to set aside £160,000 – the cost of running the lights for the additional five hours each night – to fund the switch-on if it is backed in a consultation which began in December.

However Alan Goggin, cabinet member for finance, said the switch-on does not have to be a blanket decision.

Instead a decision could be made in individual parish areas.

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Mr Goggin said: “We think consultation is the right way forward because a number of councils don’t want the lights on, and they don’t want to pay for them either.

“Often they are already paying for their own lights through the parish precept in council tax.

“We have said we would pay to have them put on where people want them, if an over-whelming proportion say they want the lights on.

“If for instance Brightlingsea say ‘We don’t want it’, they won’t go on there.

“We have to set aside an amount of money in the event everyone wanting all the lights on all the time everywhere, and that is what we have done.

“A sample solution would be to do a survey parish by parish, and asking if they are prepared to pay.

“We also have to consider Clacton, which is an unparished area.”

The consultation on street lights ends on February 23, with the results due to be reported back to March’s full council meeting.

The have your say email lighting@tendringdc.gov.uk.

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